StateWays - July/August 2015

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 51

StateWays n n July/August 2015 28 Scotch, the thinking goes, consumers thirsty for the next bibu- lous frontier will turn to premium rums. Rum has the edge in price and retailers are starting to notice this trend. "Whiskey is at a peak right now; retailers are rushing to get them on the shelf, but there is a barrel shortage and you can't rush whiskey aging," says Alex Vaughn, liquor associate at Liquor Mart in Boulder, Colo. "I can see people investigat- ing aged rums to find those same flavor notes." Among the rum brands moving well for the retailer are Mount Gay, Ron Abuelo, Zacapa and local distillers' products. "Bourbon has almost overtaken vodka as the best-selling spirit; but rum hasn't gone away. And I think aged rums can take business away from whiskey," says Jim Guzay, a manager at Minotti Wine & Spirits, one of five retail stores in the Cleveland area. Guzay says customers who are into barrel-aged spirits are also into dark rums. Mount Gay and Bacardi are big sellers for Minotti. Plus, Guzay adds, "Rum is more reasonably priced than comparably aged whiskeys." Brand managers are also predicting cross-over from the other brown spirits categories. "In the last three to five years, brown spirits have grown ex- ponentially. As a sub-tier, the premium segment in the rum cat- egory has grown with it. Consumers are ready for longer-aged, more robust sipping experiences," Krishnan says. He cites Bac- ardi Gran Reserva Ocho Años and the Bacardi Facundo Collec- tion as prime examples of aged rums. "Dark spirit drinkers, Bourbon or whiskey, are more open to straight or aged rums, because of similar flavor profiles," says Bailey Pryor, CEO and founder of The Real McCoy Rum brand. "Whiskey and tequila have experienced growth through premiumization. Rum is now experiencing the same transformation." "We see dark, aged rums like our Single Barrel and Estate Di- amond Aged Dark being enjoyed neat or over ice," says Lynch at Cruzan. "We expect to continue to see this trend grow as whiskey and bourbon fans seek out new spirits and rum drinkers explore the barrel-aged trends driven by these spirits." Swapping Spirits Some producers are setting their sights directly on whiskey afi- cionados. "With Mezan, we are going after the rum geek, not the mainstream rum drinkers," explains Persson. "We are target- ing whiskey drinkers, too." One hook is that Mezan XO is aged in used Bourbon barrels and produced in small batches. The company also makes a number of single-distillery vintage rums, such as Mezan Jamaica 2000 and Mezan Panama 2004. Rum is much more affordable than comparable whiskeys, too, she adds. At Campari America, Floor advocates connecting consum- ers from American whiskey to rum. "It's not going to take a lot to build those bridges. The aspects of whiskey that appeal to the Millennial audience are the flavors from wood aging, the sense of place and heritage, the skills of master distillers and master blenders. Rum can deliver all of those," Floor says. He advocates substituting aged rum for the whiskey in classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Manhattan. To that end, Zacapa offers a new signature Old Fashioned recipe created by Master Blender Lorena Vásquez and Miami mixologist Julio Cabrera. This take on the classic adds choco- late bitters, expressed grapefruit peel, and grates dark chocolate on top as a garnish, which brings out those flavor notes in the aged rum. "We've found that this is an excellent way to engage both members of the trade and consumers to experience the excellence of Zacapa in a cocktail that also harkens back to the importance of the Old Fashioned recipe in cocktail history," says Kleinman at Diageo. At Liquor Mart, Vaughn reports that consumers are substi- tuting rum for vodka and tequila in their favorite drinks, like RUM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Stateways - StateWays - July/August 2015